Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

This is where Winnipeggers get the most tickets for parking next to a hydrant

Three downtown locations raking in parking-ticket cash

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Three fire hydrants stand above all others when it comes to filling city coffers with fine payments.

The most lucrative hydrants in Winnipeg are three on Carlton Street between Broadway and Assiniboine Avenue. They cost drivers an average of $18,000 a year in combined parking ticket fines.

While they might be your pup's favourite pit stop, hydrants throughout Winnipeg have proven themselves mighty expensive places to park, data obtained by the Free Press from the Winnipeg Parking Authority show. There was a city-wide total of 34,480 tickets issued to drivers parked too close to fire hydrants from January 1, 2010 to August 13, 2014.

Parking closer than three metres away from a fire hydrant will set you back at least $50. If you wait more than 15 days to pay your ticket, then that awful yellow stub will cost you $100.

If all of the fire hydrant-related tickets issued in Winnipeg since 2010 were paid within 15 days of their assignment, the Parking Authority would have collected more than $1.7 million dollars.

The data provided to the Free Press didn't specify which individual hydrants saw the most ticketing action. Instead, the Parking Authority listed areas where the most fire hydrant-related ticket violations happened.

So what accounts for the Carlton hydrants bringing in the most cash, a total of $71,800 over four years? It's all about a lack of street parking and the busyness of the stretch between Broadway and Assiniboine, where there are 13 apartment blocks, the Dalnavert Museum, an Urban Wellness Centre and five loading zones.

One cyclist mentioned he rarely sees the designated fire hydrant zone across from his apartment at 47 Carlton unoccupied by cars. Parking attendants have pinpointed this hydrant, midway between Assiniboine and Broadway, as a ticketing hot spot and patrol the area every evening, the cyclist said. (Coincidentally, a Google Streetview search shows the hydrant in question blocked by a parked car with a ticket stuck under its windshield wiper.)

The second-worst stretch of the city for fire hydrant tickets is on Garry Street between Broadway and Assiniboine. Here, there are two hydrants located in front of Rideau Tower, 90 Garry, and its accompanying parkade.

Rideau's resident manager, Liz Guest, has seen many drivers get nabbed when parking in front of her building. Their infractions include parking in the 15-minute loading zone for too long, parking illegally in the designated handicap zone or parking beside the fire hydrants, one of which is very easy to miss because there is no sign advertising its location, she said.

"I'm not a security guard, I'm not here to watch if the guy's giving you tickets. You're taking a risk," Guest said. "If you want to take the risk to park here and go for lunch at the Fort Garry Hotel and see what happens, you get ticketed."

Behind Rideau Tower are visitor parking spots, which are reserved for Rideau tenants only, said Guest.

"There's not much room for parking here, but that's why people live downtown -- because they don't have vehicles," she said. "It's just common sense to be aware of the fire hydrants when you're downtown."

Still, many hurried drivers don't pay attention.

Two downtown parking patrol officers, who spoke to the Free Press on the condition of remaining anonymous, said they were surprised that Garry Street was one of the top ticket-grabbing locations for fire hydrants.

"By far the most common issue is the meter violation, that would easily be No. 1 by a mile," said one patrol officer.

"But people seem to like to park in front of fire hydrants," he added, laughing.

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 28, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 6:40 AM CDT: Replaces photo

9:06 AM: Adds map

9:15 AM: Adds screenshot

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